Castle in The Sky

Chapter I Keeper of the light of Esphrah

"Bel taine is soon upon us" Gee said looking out on the frozen waters of Saunters field .

"Yes if we do not hurry the festival will be over with before we cross the western path. Farsthens eyes traveled the path of the sun to the dull hills in the distance. Across the lake a thin line of trees marked the beginning of Olds way road,not more than a foot path through the sparsely wooded forest

"The landscape has sure changed since last we came ." sighed Gee tightening his cloak against the wind. "Perhaps we are lost and ." his voice trailed off as he watched a silver light rise from the woods across the lake. It shot into the sky and hovered for a second before shooting off over the valley beyond the forest and into the hills.

"What was that ?" Farsthen asked breathlessly

"I don't know but its heading toward Elrik River, it may already be at the villages beyond the hill! Lets go!" Gee slapped the reins against his steeds back and raised a hand above his head as it plunged into the icey water.

"Gee! What do you intend on doing!" Farsthen wailed as he watched the young mage cast a circle of blue sparks ahead of him. Where the sparks trailed a thin sheet of ice formed stretching the birth of the river and ending a little up the bank of the opposite side.

"Gyaa!" he yelled urging his beast to mount the path, once its hoof hit the solid ice the steed took off at a pace rivaling that of wind.

"Wait!!" Farsthen gripes struggling to get his mount into the water.

By the time Farsthens beast was on the path Gee had made land and was struggling to get up the slippery bank and into the woods. Finding no purchase in the sticky mud he groaned and searched him self for a spell to dry the mud.

"Aah" Gee cried throwing his hand forward, a soft browning light shone briefly in the palm of his hand before being cast onto the ground before him. The light burned green in the mud an a soft sucking sound was heard over the clip clop of Farsthens mount as it finally reached the bank. The path dried out quickly leaving caked and cracking dirt behind. The pair thundered through the forest on the barely visible foot path which wined it way in and out of trees and meadows.

"Gee!" Farsthens voice was weak as they slowed their mounts to a light trot. Something about the clearing ahead spooked the beast and they tried to shy away jerking their heads against the reigns.

"This is where that light came from" Farsthen felt a shiver run up his spine as his beast stamped impatiently and pulled against the reigns.

"Gya!" Gee said steering his mount into the clearing. The animal walked in slow jerking steps. All muscles tightened eyes rolled , nostrils flared in fright.

A thin wisp of gray smoke curled up from the tall grass in the center of the field. Not able to coax their steeds any further Gee and Farsthen dismount and walk cautiously towards the smoldering grass. The scent of seared flesh hung thickly in the air. Splatters of red liquid thick as jell was smeared onto the matted grass. In a circle of broken twigs lay a cloaked form. Many lacerations bleeding freely.

"What is it!" Farsthen whispered drawing back at the sight of the red blood. "Its not a Southerling I can tell you that.. look at the color of its blood.red." Gee dipped two fingers in the goopy substance and rubbed them together leaving red stains on his fingers.

"Don't touch it !" Farsthen slapped Gees hand away from the mangled body. The cloak so soaked through with blood that it clung wetly to the disfigured form beneath.

"It looks Ghalden enough." Gee said shoving Farsthen aside and summoning a small healing spell to his casting hand. "Maybe we can."

Suddenly a thin blood covered hand shot forward and grasped Gees arm yanking it towards the bloody face still obscured by the cloak. The cloak slipped away and the face appeared ,jaw hanging loosely , barely visible through the clumps of wet hair that clung to the disfigured face.

The creature pulled Gees hand towards its mouth desperately sucking at the golden light of Charter magic that engulfed his hand. It sucked until the symbols of the small spell disappeared into its broken jaw shining dimly as it dissolved into the gory skin. Gee didn't know he was screaming until he stopped ,to stunned by what he saw beneath the hair.

Bright blue eyes stared up at him through matted hair and blood smeared flesh. They held him entranced as the spell worked it way into the very fiber of the beings flesh and mended its broken jaw so that it may speak.

"There is evil in these wood." The voice was thick and slurred ,as it spoke blood rushed to clog its seared throat

Shuddering with effort the being rasped on blood flowing freely from it freshly healed lips.

"An ancient secret bestowed onto man by those who came before the beginning. The Age of Ancients was a faint glimmer on the horizon when the Great Masters hewed this world from the body of Ensphrath"

Farsthen sucked in mouth full of bad air on hearing the name of the Sacred Mother and crossed himself palms up in an empty casting motion .

Glaring Gee punched him in the arm and leaned in closer to hear the last words the rasping voice had to say.

"In a time of turmoil and war, a time of evil far beyond what has been here today I Jhangleswinn was imprisoned here. Look hard and long my friend." Here the voice faded to less than a river and several words were lost.

Quickly Gee reached deep into the charter, clamping his eyes closed against the sight before him he concentrated on a stronger spell. One of restoration and strength.

Watching Gee Farsthen realized what he was trying to do and smacked him as the charter light began glowing in the palm of his casting hand.

"What are you doing !" Farsthen exclaimed "What if you help this thing and it kills us both! I say wee leave it obviously something tried to kill it for a reason."

"Shut up !" gee snapped back desperately reaching for the symbols to complete his spell before they were lost in the depths of the charter again. "Weren't you listening Fars? Its name !Jhangleswinn! The Third of Ten! The Keeper of the light of Esphrah!"

"Must you always be so gullible Gee? Those are just stories grow up and lets leave while we can." Farsthen was plainly frightened and angry. He was a strong believer in the Khiskinsuntra, a Worshiper of the Light of Esphrah and everything said went against the teaching he had built his young life around.

Gee let the glowing symbols of the spell be sucked from his palm into the body of Jhangleswinn , the body shuddered and began in a clear bell like voice. A faint golden symbol appeared on the blood smeared forehead and shone beneath the matted hair.

"Look hard and long my friend For this world will soon be coming to an end. The light of Esphrah was mine to guard with my life. My life has come to an end as does everything eventually. And the light , I am afraid it has been lost .Stolen by the soul that defiled my dwelling .Long I have awaited to be released from this world. My time has truly come, but first I must give you the means to restore the Light and keep the spirit of Ensphrath from being united .She was the all mother ,yes ,but before the fall of the Old Kingdom some evil force awoke and consumed her. With the mending of the Eighth Gate ,came the breaking of the mothers spirit. There are nine Spirit Guardians in the free world Three to the west , Three to the east ,one to the south and two to the north. I fear that these guardians are in trouble as well. He who slayed me is known as Kiin. Who. For nobody knows his face, as tangible as the wind yet his powers are Ten fold that of the strongest warrior. Take this."

Gee looked down at the bloody arm, white bone shone plainly through the broken flesh. In the hand was a small golden object. He tried to take it but Jhangleswinn wasn't quite ready to release it.

"You must promise me ,that you will not let The Mother be mended. I hear the bells." The blue eyes stretched even wider beneath the blood soaked hair. "I am summoned beyond the Eighth Gate. Take the stone. Go to the north and awaken Aespharn if he still lives. This demon spirit has always feared his powers, if Aespharn dies all is lost." With one last shuddering breath the form in the cloak grew still ,the color drained from it leaving a gray tint to the skin. The red blood turned gray on the body as well as grass.

Gee sighed deeply the hand he held was ice cold, the long tin fingers clenched around the gold trinket. Prying it away he wiped the gray blood onto his cloak and studied the piece. It was a solid stone object with the intertwined cross of changes made of a snake biting its tail threaded though a turning wheel. On the opposite side was a small eye and several words of Old Kingdom Common spiraling into the pupil.

TBC

(Whoa I ve read like 6 books in the last two weeks and my influences are so wacked . I cant help using some of my favorite features from some of the boks..ie Charter magic us from Lirael by Garth Nix. This whole obsession with light is from the Eye of the world Series by .that guy..(brain fart).And of course the ever present pre human influences from the clan of the cave bear series ^^ justread valley of horses its so good.and ive been reading an odd translation of the Lotus Sutra whichis completely different from the one My pratiuce is based on.ok im babbeling now .. if I get 5 reviews I will continue to post this other wise tough cookie.)~Nat The Unchanging Darkness ~